The Remarkable and the Remembered
World War II, millions of people, ranging from doctors and lawyers to peasants were transported to prison camps spread through-out Europe. The Soviet Gulag was a massive network of prison camps stretching from the west side of the Soviet Union all the way to the east side. The most notorious camp in the Gulag was known Kolyma. Kolyma was in the far northeastern corner of the Soviet Union, only a couple hundred miles away from the United States (www.gulaghistory.org). The prisoners of the gulag were a wide variety of people. There were Soviet officers, soviet citizens, and people of many other races and religions. The Nazis had their own version of the ...view middle of the document...
Levi’s mention of the “human animal” specifically resonated with me because in Auschwitz, everyone was reduced to animal instincts I order to survive. Morality was out the window. It was about survival. The strong tended to take from the weak, and the weak simply could not stop it from happening, whether it was because of sheer exhaustion, or inability to compete physically. The first sentence of this quote emphasizes the diversity of the prisoners in Auschwitz. Both authors constantly mentioned the need for companionship in the prisoner camps. After all, long periods of extreme isolation are very destructive to the human psyche because we are social beings. Levi befriends a couple men during his time in the concentration camp, like Kraus, a German Jewish man. He forms relationships with some of the guards also. Jean, a Pikolo of the Kapos, was in charge of the Chemical Specialist group. This relationship is incredibly significant because Jean is, uncharacteristic of someone in a position of power showed any mercy and humility to the prisoners.
In the prison camps of World War II, the Soviet and Nazi soldiers viewed the prisoners as expendable. They were only used as workers and worked until they died of starvation, exposure, or physical beatings, or were executed by the soldiers. Both Levi and Bardach witnessed the killing of many prisoners and suffered the psychological and emotion distress of knowing that they were helpless to stop it. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been. Regardless of whether they knew the person or not, when people are brought together in terrible conditions like Auschwitz and the prison camps of the Gulag, they became unified in their misery. They were all human, and any moral human would feel the impulse to do whatever possible to stop the killing.
Primo Levi was born into an Italian Jewish family in Turin, Italy, in 1919. Growing up, Levi was heavily influenced by his mother’s ideologies. She was against the fascist powers and Levi soon shared this view with her y the time he was in hi mid-teens. He studied chemistry at Turin University even though Mussolini passed a law in Italy that prevented any Jews from receiving higher education in 1938. Shortly after graduating Suma Cum Laude from Turin University in1941, he joined a partisan group to help resist the Fascist powers. However, soon after him and a group of fellow partisans being a journey to the Alps, they are caught by the Fascist police (CITATION). Levi was accused of being in a partisan group, but instead of admitting his involvement, he confessed he was Jewish thinking he would receive a less punishment. At this point, Levi was transported via
Janusz Bardach was born
Bardach and Levis’ memoires were similar in the respect that both authors emphasized the amount of luck they experienced that was crucial to their survival. For example, in “Man is Wolf to Man”, on the train to the mines in Kolyma, a burning car on the side of the road was...